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Article
December 2, 1988

Labor Pains: Modern Midwives and Home Birth

Author Affiliations

Northwestern University Medical School Northwestern Memorial Hospital Chicago

Northwestern University Medical School Northwestern Memorial Hospital Chicago

JAMA. 1988;260(21):3202-3203. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410210116055

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Abstract

I wish I could say something nice about this book, avoiding the probability that the authors will assume that I am sexist and a member of the establishment that "medicalizes" obstetric care. However, try as I may, I find little to recommend Labor Pains for reading by either the medical or lay public.

The theme seems to be that male sexism and medicalization of the birth process have given rise to the kind of consumerism that in turn is giving rise to a demand for alternative medical care for the birth process. The book seems to argue (and I emphasize seems to, since I am not quite sure as to whether the authors are really arguing this point) that lay midwives may represent an acceptable alternative form of obstetric care. However, there are statements like "The rest of the women were 'backed into midwifery' without having apprenticed with physicians when

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